Working Towards Grounding More and More

Blogs may include sensitive or triggering content. Reader discretion is advised.

Our therapist outsmarted us last week.

We have been VERY hesitant to start EMDR. There are a lot of reasons for this, such as having trouble letting our guard down when others are present and being uncomfortable with giving another person even the slightest control over our switches. But we decided to finally start working on it this last therapy session.

I don’t know if it was her intention, but I feel like our therapist has finally started to get through to some of our more stubborn alters that they can’t accomplish the level of healing that they want on their own.

I want to write a blog post dedicated to this, as it was huge for us, but I think it’s going to have to wait until some of the guys in our system are able to gather their thoughts. Lothair seemed to have his mind blown, so I should probably let him talk about it for himself. I just wanted to note the post-therapy week when we started so that I can keep track of our healing progress. If I write it in a paper journal, people will forget that it exists. 


Our system has been feeling more and more present as we work on healing and utilize the tools that our therapist recommended (journaling, spending more time outside, letting alters be themselves at home even if they’re weird, etc.) 

With this feeling of being present has also come a feeling of rebelliousness. We want to live again. We’re tired of dissociating constantly and letting the people around us rule our lives. We’re tired of making ourselves so small and convenient that we feel like we don’t exist. We’re tired of shutting off our own desires so that we don’t feel heartbroken when choice is taken away from us. 

We’re not in an environment where we need to fear these things. 

So the alters in charge of communication sat down together and consulted all the corners of innerworld that we can currently reach. “What can we do right now that will help all of you feel at home? What can we do that will help you feel confident and alive?”

The response was unanimous, overwhelming, and not what I expected.

They want to live in a clean house. They want all of our belongings to have homes, so that they can use the things that they love without stressing over amnesia barriers and clutter. 

This isn’t what I expected to be focusing on as our first act of universal self-expression. Our mother was faultlessly organized and clean, to the point that it stressed us out and caused a negative reaction. We grew up in a very messy room. After we moved out and didn’t feel pressure from her, we didn’t have any trouble keeping our apartment clean and organized. But everything deteriorated once we started getting trauma memories back, and I assumed that my system was going to blame our mom for our former cleanliness and proclaim that we enjoyed being messy. I’m glad that’s not the case, because I definitely don’t. I just didn’t expect this to happen. Especially not so quickly. 

Because a lot of our alters enjoy “talking” to our belongings anyway, and because being given strict and specific guidelines about the “right” way to organize things creates a negative reaction, we decided to use the KonMari method. It is the only organization technique that we have read up on and not been triggered by. I don’t know specific reasons why we have such strong reactions to cleaning methods. But apparently Lothair does and he told me not to poke at it, so I guess I’ll leave that alone for now. 

According to the book, the first step of the KonMari method is to envision your “ideal lifestyle”. So right away we ran into the problem that may seem obvious. How do you tackle something like this when you have alters? 

We decided to dedicate a journal to it. Any alter can contribute, and write down aspects of living that are ideal to them. We’ll keep it open and let people contribute even after the cleaning process has been accomplished. It seems like something useful to help alters feel human and included, no matter what our current goal. Technically, you’re supposed to envision your ideal before cleaning begins, but with the size of our system that is not feasible, and it would be unfair to block alters from contributing just because they live on the far reaches of forbidden lands. 

As far as figuring out what “sparks joy” when you have multiple people in your head…our system will take advantage of our internal communication. Our therapist has told us on several occasions that we have the best internal communication that she has ever seen in a new-to-therapy system (we’ve been in therapy for about a year and a half n0w, but we had unusually good internal communication from the beginning). I don’t know exactly why we have this ability. I know part of it is because of writing – we learned to communicate with each other using imagery tied to emotions while we taught ourselves to write stories. But I am not the alter to tell that story, and apparently there is a lot more to our internal communication success that I am not aware of. So I’ll leave that potential blog post to the subsystem containing our innerworld “messenger”. They’re still figuring out what name they want to go by as a subsystem on this blog, so I’ll leave that for them. But Marionette tells me that we do, in fact, have a subsystem whose main job is running messages throughout innerworld. So I guess that helps with communication as well.


(Part of it also came from reading The Unicorn Chronicles growing up. The main character can speak telepathically to a unicorn that she befriends, but she can only use images and feelings rather than words. Somehow, the way that the author described this communication translated into something that we realized was already happening innerworld. It helped us pay attention to our internal voices before we knew where they were coming from. We almost never talk to each other in words, but we do a decent job with emotions and pictures. -Lothair)

Well, Lothair switching in kicked Diana out of front, so I guess I’ll try to find a way to round this off somehow. Cleaning is overwhelming and scary to me, because I’m afraid of “getting in trouble” if I mess up, and I don’t know what the rules are. But our therapist has talked to me a lot about how our mom doesn’t live here with us, so it’s okay to make mistakes, and that there’s no “right” way to clean things anyway. There’s other scary stuff that I don’t want to talk about connected to specific types of cleaning. So it makes the whole process harder and more daunting than it ever needed to be. But it’s okay, because we’ll keep working on it together until it’s done. And then we’ll be able to focus on more fun things, like crafts and plants and maybe even getting a pet. I’m a little scared, but I’m excited too. 


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